Zika virus raises concerns among Indiana travelers

A researcher holds a container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus. The Brazilian government announced it will direct funds to a biomedical research center to help develop a vaccine against the Zika virus linked to brain damage in babies. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Travel agents in Indianapolis are feeling the effects of the Zika virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the mosquito-borne illness is linked to birth defects in pregnant woman.

And the organization is even urging woman who may become pregnant to avoid affected areas.

Some agents are reporting cancellations because of the virus, and others are just fielding a lot of questions. But they also say if you plan to travel to affected areas, you should leave your options open.

“I would say a definite concern, but it’s not a real high concern,” said Alex Kutin, the owner of Travel Leaders.

Instead of cancelling, they’re suggesting you think of other areas to travel to.

“A great thing is we do have some options,” said  Bethanne Harrison-Brown, the assistant manager at The Travel Authority. “They can do Bermuda, they could do Hawaii. Europe is a possibility.”

The World Health Organization estimates three to four million people in North and South America will be infected with the virus in the next year. The WHO also suggests the virus is spreading rapidly through Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The travel agents are suggesting travel insurance.

“We recommend that all of our clients purchase the travel insurance and there is cancel for any reason travel insurance that they can cancel the day before,” said Kutin.

“There’s a whole world out there besides the areas that are affected with the Zika virus,” said Harrison-Brown.

As of now there are no treatments or vaccines.

The Red Cross is also now asking people who’ve traveled to the affected areas not to give blood for 28 days after returning.

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